A channel manager is the most important ingredient for up to date online distribution in the modern hospitality industry concerning hotels. The Channel Manager system enables the regrouping of most Online Travel Agency (OTA) extranets and the hotels’ own booking engine all in one, and can get connected to the Property Management System (PMS). These features allow the hotel to have updated rates and availability throughout every online distribution partner at any time.
As with all technology, even the best systems may fail from time to time, as was the case recently with the most popular German channel manager in our portfolio.
In the late afternoon, the RegiÔtels Revenue & Distribution team recognized a malfunction within the interface connection between the channel manager and the OTAs affecting five of our partner hotels. Fortunately, the team is constantly using these systems, so much so that this incident was discovered and acted upon very quickly.
A hotel that does not at least make an hourly check may have possibly faced overbookings and/or reservations at incorrect rates. This is because, when the interface is down, neither the availability nor the rates can get updated. The RegiÔtels team reacted quickly by first checking if all hotels working with this system in the portfolio were affected. Then all concerned hotels received an informative e-mail explaining the incident and how the team was taking care of it. This happened even before the Channel Manager sent out its own explanatory email to its clients.
The hotels’ duty was only to monitor incoming reservations in order to be able to double-check if they got updated once all interfaces were reconnected. In the meantime, the Revenue & Distribution team verified all partners’ OTA extranets and closed availabilities for constrained dates in order to avoid overbookings. As the connection between the booking engine and Channel Manager was still live, there was no need for further action in regards to hotel direct bookings.
The next morning all interfaces were back on track and availability were updated in accordance with the new situation. All connections were verified and it was checked whether reservations made on OTAs during this critical downtime were pushed through the PMS after the connection was back online and functioning. Fortunately, no major issues arose, thanks to the quick reactivity of the team and the fast “emergency plan” that was implemented.
The case study shows that no one is perfect, neither humans, nor IT systems, but with a strong and reactive partner like RegiÔtels, a hotelier will always know that there is a helping hand in troublesome times.